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Cablegate: Monitoring and Evaluating Icmc's Humanitarian

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958:N/A
SUBJECT: Monitoring and Evaluating ICMC's Humanitarian
Assistance Program for Vulnerable Iraqis in Lebanon

REF: A) PRM Monitoring Instructions of 9/29/03

B) 03 Amman 3308

1. As requested ref a, regional refcoord and Embassy Beirut
polFSN monitored ICMC's humanitarian assistance program for
vulnerable Iraqis in Lebanon on March 12 (cooperative
agreement SPRMCO03CA119). In addition to meetings at the
ICMC/Caritas office, we also visited Baabda Hospital and
Notre Dame du Perpetuel Secours School, which provide
services to Iraqis under the grant, and met four beneficiary
families in their homes. Refcoord, PRM/ANE program officer
and emboffs also met with ICMC and Caritas officials in
October 2003.

A. On March 12, we met with ICMC Forced Migration
Specialist (and project manager) Jim Kelly, Caritas Migrants
Center Coordinator Najla Chahda and project officer Isabelle
Saade, who supervises the three other social workers
supported by the grant. Unpaid student interns also work on
the project as part of their university training.

B. After a slow first year (ref b), ICMC and its local
implementing partner Caritas are running a solid, well-
performing project that is reaching vulnerable Iraqis
throughout Lebanon. The project is meeting and in some
cases exceeding program objectives and has developed
alternative plans to meet the one objective, vocational
training, where it is falling short. The project addresses
PRM cross-cutting policy goals of protection, women,
children and reproductive health. However, as more time
passes since the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime, it is
increasingly difficult to classify Iraqis in Lebanon as
refugees or asylum-seekers. Most appear to be irregular
movers in search of a new, permanent home. While their
illegal status leaves them vulnerable in terms of access to
services, ICMC acknowledges that humanitarian assistance to
irregular Iraqi movers should not last indefinitely.

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C. Since the current grant began on September 1, ICMC has
- outpatient medical services to 399 vulnerable Iraqis
(vice a target of 700 in 12 months)
- inpatient medical services to 74 vulnerable Iraqis
(vice a target of 150 in 12 months)
- humanitarian assistance to 85 vulnerable Iraqis (vice a
target of 250)
- primary school support to 141 vulnerable Iraqis (vice a
target of 120)
- non-formal education to 130 vulnerable Iraqis (vice a
target of 150); and
- vocational training to 6 Iraqis (vice a target of 100)

Project Manager Jim Kelly reported that 40 percent of ICMC's
beneficiaries - 127 of 318 families -- are new cases (vice a
target of 30 percent). Of the new caseload, 57 families are
recent arrivals in Lebanon, all of whom left Iraq after
August 2003. Kelly commented that the Iraqi population flow
seems to go both ways in Lebanon. While many new arrivals
have come to Lebanon in search of security and better
economic prospects, many Iraqi men are returning home
without their families to find work and reestablish proper
homes before sending for their families. Kelly said a
significant number of these Iraqi men have simply
disappeared, leaving wives and children in increasingly
vulnerable situations in Lebanon.

D. Kelly acknowledged that ICMC is behind target for the
humanitarian assistance and vocational training components
of the project. Kelly attributed the shortfall in
humanitarian assistance packages to two factors. First,
because ICMC was slow in implementing the FY02 grant for
vulnerable Iraqis (ref b), most of the humanitarian
assistance items funded under the FY02 grant were provided
in the spring and summer of 2003. Vulnerable Iraqis covered
under the previous grant simply do not have a need for
additional blankets, mattresses, cooking utensils, etc., and
all 85 beneficiaries under the current grant are new
clients. Kelly also said that social workers are reluctant
to use humanitarian assistance, for fear of creating
expectations and jealousy among the Iraqi community. Kelly
said he routinely counsels social workers on this issue and
expects the project to meet its target August 31. For the
vocational training program, Kelly said Caritas has been
unable to attract Iraqis to traditional vocational training
programs, as they have been reluctant to take the time away
from any income-earning opportunities. Instead, Kelly
proposes to develop apprenticeship opportunities for young
Iraqis, where they could learn trades while earning money.
An apprenticeship program strikes us as an appropriate
Kelly also acknowledged that, as more time passes from the
fall of Saddam Hussein's regime, it is becoming difficult to
classify Iraqis in Lebanon as refugees and asylum seekers.
Kelly observed that most Iraqis in Lebanon seem to have made
the calculated decision that their lives would be better in
Lebanon than in Iraq, usually for security or economic
reasons. Many Iraqis in Lebanon also seem to be irregular
movers, in search of a new permanent home. For example,
three of the four families we met were trying to be
resettled outside the region and two had been accepted for
humanitarian resettlement in Australia. (Only one family
had been recognized by UNHCR as refugees.) And while all
four families had at least one member who was capable of
working and seemed to be coping on the periodic wages they
earned, the families remained vulnerable in terms of access
to services due to their non-citizen status. They simply
could not afford the medical interventions or school fees
covered under the grant. The real question seems to be how
long these vulnerable Iraqis should be considered eligible
for refugee assistance. Kelly suggested that EVI assistance
should continue only until UNHCR begins an assisted return
program for Iraqis.

E. ICMC's staffing level seems appropriate for the program,
and the team of four social workers seems to be fully and
gainfully employed.

F. The program is run out of Caritas' Migrants Center. The
project workspace is clean and well-organized. All
equipment seems to be in good working order and used on a
regular basis. An acceptable inventory system is in place.

G. N/A

H. Nearly a year after the fall of Baghdad, it seems
increasingly difficult to justify continued assistance to
Iraqis living outside Iraq. Humanitarian needs certainly
exist among this population, but those Iraqis who remain in
Lebanon nearly a year after the fall of Baghdad seem to fit
the definition of economic migrant or irregular mover,
rather than refugee. Should PRM continue to support
assistance programs for vulnerable Iraqis in Lebanon, we
recommend that the program be carefully tailored to reflect
UNHCR policy on assisted returns. As soon as UNHCR lifts
its temporary protection order for Iraqis and organizes
assisted returns, PRM-funded assistance programs should
change to support voluntary repatriation.

2. Embassy Beirut cleared this message.


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